November 13th, 2018

CZ 455 .22 LR Varmint Precision Trainer in Manners Stock

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
October 2nd, 2018

The Three Amigos — Los Tacticales!

Tactical Rifle Amigos Manners Stocks Bartlein Nightforce

Tactical Rifle Amigos Manners Stocks Bartlein NightforceJerod’s Tactical Trio
Many guys are lucky to have just one accurate tactical rifle fitted with a custom barrel and high-end optics. Well forum member Jerod (aka Stinnett1981) has three!

Jerod calls his tactical trio the “Three Amigos”. All are built with Manners Composite stocks and Bartlein barrels. But there are three different chamberings. In order below (from top to bottom) are: .308 Win (Bartlein 5R, 1:10″ twist); .223 Rem (Bartlein 5R, 1:8″ twist);,and 6.5×47 Lapua (Bartlein 5R 1:8.5″ twist). Read on for a full description of each build.

Tactical Rifle Amigos Manners Stocks Bartlein Nightforce

The tan rifle is Jerod’s .308 Winchester. It has a Manners T4A stock, trued Rem 700 SA, Badger M5 DBM, and Bartlein 5R 10-twist HV contour finished at 23″. The optic is a Bushnell XRS 4.5-30X50mm FFP with G2 reticle scope.

Tactical Rifle Amigos Manners Stocks Bartlein Nightforce

The Green rifle is a .223 Remington. This has a Manners T4 stock, trued Rem 700 SA, Badger M5 DBM, and Bartlein 5R 8-twist HV contour finished at 23″. On top is a Nightforce NXS F1 3.5-15X50mm FFP with MLR 2.0 reticle scope. Jerod says: “This scope and reticle are awesome.”

Tactical Rifle Amigos Manners Stocks Bartlein Nightforce

The Black rifle is chambered for the 6.5-47 Lapua. Components are: Manners T4A stock, Stiller TAC 30, Badger M5 DBM, Bartlein 5R 8.5-twist bull barrel (1″ at muzzle) finished at 26″. The scope is a Nightforce NXS 8-32X56mm with NP2DD reticle.

What Comes Next — A Rimfire Maybe?
While Jarod’s Three Amigos make up a very impressive tactical troika, we’d like to see one more rifle added to the mix — a .22 LR rimfire rig, set up with a similar stock. That would be perfect for low-cost cross-training, or competition in Rimfire Tactical matches. Jerod could build the “fourth Amigo” using a rimfire action. Here is just such a rifle, built by Brian of GA Precision with a modified Rem 40X action in a Manners T4A stock (matching Jerod’s centerfire stocks). Pretty cool eh?

Could This Be the Fourth Amigo? 40X Rimfire in Manners Stock

Rem 40X Manners stock rimfire cross-trainer
Brian, a gunsmith at GA Precision, built this rimfire rig with GAP colleague Anthony Soukup.

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical 3 Comments »
July 6th, 2018

2018 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) Highlights Report

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The 2018 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event took place July 2-4 in Raton, New Mexico. Conditions were very challenging this year, yet three shooters managed to hit the most distant 3,525-yard plate at least once in five shots, a remarkable accomplishment. At that range the bullet was in flight about six seconds.

Robert Brantley of Team Manners Composite Stocks is the new King of 2 Miles. Congrats to Robert and his team-mates. Robert amassed 85178 points, finishing over 20,000 points ahead of runner-up John Buhay. Paul Phillips of Team Applied Ballistics finished third. FULL K02M 2018 RESULTS HERE.

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico
Here’s Robert Brantley after his superb qualifying performance, which set a new 2018 King of 2 Miles qualifying round record. Going perfect on targets 1, 2, and 3, Robert missed just one shot on Target 4 of the qualifying phase, amassing 51355 points, a new K02M record.

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico

CLICK HERE for a very complete and thorough KO2M report created by The Precision Rifle Blog (PRB). This excellent PRB Report contains complete load and rig specifications for the top five shooters. In addition, the PRB Report includes a full run-down on this year’s event.

K02m 2018 Raton New mexico Cheytac barrett
Though the trigger pullers get the glory, this is really a three-man game. One guy shoots, a second team member spots for hits and calls corrections, and a third watches mirage and makes wind calls.

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Multi-Day, Multi-Distance Competition with Farthest Target at 3525 Yards
The K02M Competition runs in stages, with the distances getting farther with each round. After five shots on target 1 at 1547 yards, there are then three shots per target for the remaining three parts of the Qualifying round. Then, in the three-target Finals phase, there are with five shots per target. You get more points for earlier hits in each string, and there are no sighters during the match. The event started with a tough Cold Bore Challenge — a single-shot at 1689 yards, just shy of one mile. Only three out of 62 competitors made that cold-bore mile shot on a 16″ plate, about 1 MOA at that distance. After that there are two rounds with the targets arrayed as follows.

KO2M Qualification Round
1,547 yards: 5 shots, 24” x 37” rectangle
1,719 yards: 3 shots, 24” x 37” rectangle
1,890 yards: 3 shots, 30” x 37” rectangle
2,095 yards: 3 shots, 30” x 37” rectangle
KO2M Finals Round — July 4
2,727 yards: 5 shots, 33” x 41” rectangle
3,166 yards: 5 shots, 42” x 54” rectangle
3,525 yards: 5 shots, 48” x 60” rectangle

Big Bore Rifles with High-BC Bullets
This year saw the continued evolution of equipment. Top shooter Brantley shot a .416 Barrett with 500gr Cutting Edge bullets. Robert’s massive 44-lb rifle featured a 39″ K&P barrel, McMillan action, and a Manners LRT (Long Range Tactical) stock designed expressly for this KO2M competition.

Second Place John Buhay shot an improved version of the .375 CheyTac, with 353gr Lehigh Defense Match Solid bullets. Buhay’s 37.6-lb rig bosted a BAT action and 36″ Krieger barrel along with a fairly conventional McMillan MBR 1K benchrest stock. Mark King built the rifle.

Third Place Paul Phillips campaigned a .416 Barrett with 550gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets. Paul’s 42-lb rig featured a BAT action and McMillan Beast 1 stock. Shown below is the latest rifle of 2017 K02M champ Derek Rodgers, a .416 Barrett also in a McMillan Beast. Derek spotted for Phillips in the match.

derek rodgers ko2m beast

Optics Options
There was quite a variety of scopes used by Top K02M competitors, evidence that a number of manufacturers now offer optics with abundant elevation and the ability to stand up to heavy recoil. Here are the optics choices for the Top Five Shooters:

1. Bushnell XRS II 4.5-30x50mm with G3 reticle in Badger UniMount
2. Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm with MOAR reticle, with ERA-TAC Inclined Mount
3. Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56mm, with Charlie TARAC external Prism System for Elevation
4. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56mm, in Spuhr mount with Charlie TARAC
5. Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm in Barrett rings

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Notably, two of the top five used the Charlie TARAC prism system. This provides a ton of extra elevation by essentially shifting the view seen through the scope. The unit fits to the scope’s front objective.

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Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 9 Comments »
January 29th, 2018

Carbon Fiber for the Latest Generation of Rifles and Barrels

Sako 85 Carbon Fiber Wolf Hunting Rifle

Gun-makers and barrel builders have adopted aerospace technology, using carbon fiber in their stocks and composite barrels. At SHOT Show 2018, we saw carbon applications on dozens of rifle brands. Some rifles sported full carbon stocks AND carbon-wrapped barrels. Others sported a carbon stock with steel barrel, or a carbon-wrapped barrel in a conventional stock. Carbon is definitely here to stay. This advanced material allows rifles to be lighter yet stronger. The advantages for the hunter in the field are real — a carbon-wrapped barrel can save quite a few pounds. Here are some of the most notable carbon applications we saw at SHOT Show.

Sako 85 Carbon Wolf

Sako 85 Carbon Fiber Wolf Hunting Rifle

Possibly the best-looking carbon-stocked rifle at SHOT Show was the Sako 85 Carbon Wolf, featured in our Top Photo. New for 2018, this rifle features a full carbon composite stock, with the signature carbon fiber weave visible throughout. We found this new-for-2018 rig very ergonomic and nice to handle. The advanced-design RTW carbon fiber stock offers quick, push-button adjustments for comb height and LOP. Though not carbon-wrapped, the conventional 24″ blued steel barrel is fluted, reducing the overall weight of the rifle. Without optics, this rifle weighs well under 8 pounds. We were impressed by the Carbon Wolf, but choked on the steep $3600.00 MSRP. Street price will be lower — EuroOptic.com is listing a $3148.00 price for the Sako 85 Carbon Wolf.

The Firearm Blog says: “The stock features Soft Touch coating. Is is not at all slippery or loud like some carbon stocks can be. The barrels are factory threaded as well. Both the weight and the balance of the Carbon Wolf rifle felt perfect. I may have to add one to my Finnish rifle collection.” This is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg, 7mm Mag, and .300 Win Mag.

Nosler M48 Long-Range Carbon Rifle

Nosler M48 Long Range Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle

Nosler recently introduced the M48 Long-Range Carbon rifle with the addition of a PROOF Research, carbon fiber-wrapped, match-grade barrel that significantly reduces the overall weight of the rifle. The carbon-wrapped Proof barrel is mated to a trued M48 receiver and bedded in a Manners MCS-T carbon fiber-strengthened stock. Nosler says: “The Model 48 Long-Range Carbon is an excellent choice for mountain hunting, backcountry excursions and long range competition where weight is a concern.” Initially, this rifle will be offered for 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, 28 Nosler, 30 Nosler, .300 Win Mag, and 33 Nosler.

Christensen Arms TFM — Carbon Galore for 7.3-lb Rifle

Christensen Arms TFM Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle
Christensen Arms TFM Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle

As you can see there’s a whole lot of carbon fiber in the Christensen Arms TFM rifle. With a carbon-wrapped barrel and full carbon-fiber stock, this handsome rig weighs just 7.3 pounds (short action) or 7.8 pounds (long action). The carbon-wrapped stainless barrel and fully-adjustable Aerograde carbon-fiber stock are mated to a precision-machined action via integrated carbon fiber pillars. In addition, the TFM includes an integrated, 20-MOA optics rail, detachable magazine, and a titanium side-port brake. Impressively, Christensen Arms guarantees 0.5 MOA (half-MOA) accuracy.

Manners Full-Carbon F-Class Stock

Manners F-Class Stock
Manners F-Class Carbon Fiber Stock

For many years now, Manners Composite Stocks has offered an ultra-stiff, Low-Profile ‘Fish Belly’ F-Class Stock. The shell is 100% carbon fiber with a very long, stiff fore-end. From the back of the action to the tip of the fore-end the stock measures 27″ long which is around 7 1/2″ longer than the Manners T4 stock. The idea is to provide a longer wheelbase to better balance the long, 30-32″ barrels favored by many F-Class competitors. The front half of the fore-end is very thin (from top to bottom) to achieve a low profile on the bags. Much thought has gone into controlling fore-end flex. The stock achieves greater vertical rigidity (less deflection under load) through an innovative “fish belly” design. The rounded undersection, like a canoe hull, strengthens the fore-end considerably.

Weatherby Mark V with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Weatherby Proof Research Carbon Barrel
Proof Research Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Weatherby now offers rifles with Proof Research carbon fiber-wrapped barrels. The aerospace-grade carbon fiber in the Mark V Carbon barrel makes the barrel up to 64% lighter than traditional steel barrels of the same contour. Weatherby claims the carbon-fiber technology improves heat dissipation — so the barrel does not heat up as quickly with extended strings of fire. The 26” #4 contour carbon-wrapped barrel has a cut-rifled, hand-lapped 416R grade stainless steel core with a flush thread cap and 5/8-24 muzzle threads. It’s finished in tactical grey Cerakote. The Mark V Carbon carries Weatherby’s SUB-MOA (at 100 yards) accuracy guarantee when used with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition.

Carbon Edge from Fierce Firearms

Proof Research Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Fierce Firearms also offers a long-range hunting rig with a carbon-wrapped barrel. This is an extremely light rig. Without scope or optional muzzle brake, the short-action version weighs just 6.4 pounds. It is available in Black/gray, Green/black and a variety of Camo finishes including Kryptec Highlander and Typhon patterns. All this lightweight tech doesn’t come cheap. The Carbon Edge retails for $3250.00 and a left-hand version is $250.00 more. Fierce does offer a 0.5 MOA (half-MOA) accuracy guarantee, which is something.

How Good Are Proof Research Barrels? — Commentary by Mike Davis

Over the past 15 years Davis Custom Rifle has installed barrels from most major barrel manufacturers. We are very fortunate to have such quality barrel makers. I think Proof Research falls into that top-of-the-line category. Proof Research carbon-wrapped steel barrels are super light-weight, yet offer rigidity and superb accuracy. I have used them for 22-250, 6mm/6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Win builds and multiple long range hunting rifles in .280, .280 AI, .300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, 28 Nosler, and 30 Nosler. These builds with Proof Research barrels typically deliver quarter-MOA accuracy or better.

Manners F-Class Carbon Fiber Stock

The Proof Research technology allows us to build lighter rifles with outstanding accuracy, easy cleaning, and the ability to shoot long strings without point of impact shift. It’s not hard to understand why hunting rifles with these capabilities are in high demand. Combined with other light-weight components (such as Titanium actions), it’s not difficult to get these rifles down to 6.25 to 7 pounds total weight before optics.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
June 7th, 2017

Smart Choice: CZ 455 for Rimfire Cross-Training

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

Are you looking for a .22 LR Rimfire rifle that has the look and feel of a centerfire rig? Then check out the CZ 455 rimfire rifle featuring a black-finished, laminated wood stock. This gun, dubbed the “Varmint Tacticool” by CZ-USA, features a 5-round detachable magazine and adjustable trigger. And recently CZ added a Suppressor-Ready version fitted with a 16.5″ barrel and threaded muzzle.

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

The original CZ-455 Varmint Tacticool was built as an affordable tactical trainer with the ergonomics and stock profile of a full-size centerfire tactical rig. The Tacticool’s stock looks similar to the Manners Composites stock on CZ’s 455 Varmint Precision Trainer, but the wood-stocked ‘Tacticool’ version is much less expensive. The CZ 455 with Manners stock retails at $940.00 MSRP while the latest suppressor-ready Tacticool model lists for $549.00 MSRP. The $391.00 you save will buy a LOT of ammo (or a scope).

Tacticool Accuracy Demo — Nailing Match-Sticks at 30 Yards — Five for Five

We like the looks of the CZ-455 ‘Tacticool’, and the stock has some nice features. The butt-hook stock has ambidextrous palm swells on the grip and a raised comb to provide a comfortable cheek weld for shooting with a scope. The fore-end features a wide, beavertail swell for greater stability on a front sandbag. There are two (2) sling swivel studs so you can attach both a sling and a bipod.

At $940 MSRP, the CZ 455 Precision Trainer in Manners Stock is much more expensive.

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
October 23rd, 2016

Versatile Rimfire Cross-Training Rifles from CZ-USA

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

Are you looking for a .22 LR Rimfire rifle that has the look and feel of a centerfire rig? Then check out the CZ 455 rimfire rifle featuring a black-finished, laminated wood stock. This gun, dubbed the Varmint Tacticool Suppressor Ready by CZ-USA, features a 5-round detachable magazine and adjustable trigger. It comes with a short 16.5″ barrel with threaded muzzle for easy installation of a “can” (suppressor or sound moderator).

The original CZ-455 Varmint Tacticool was built as an affordable tactical trainer with the ergonomics and stock profile of a full-size centerfire tactical rig. The Tacticool’s stock looks similar to the Manners Composites stock on CZ’s 455 Varmint Precision Trainer, but the wood-stocked ‘Tacticool’ version is much less expensive. The CZ 455 with Manners stock retails at $940.00 MSRP while the latest suppressor-ready ‘Tacticool’ model lists for $549.00 MSRP. The $391.00 you save will buy a lot of ammo (or a scope).

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

We like the looks of the CZ-455 ‘Tacticool’, and the stock has some nice features. The butt-hook stock has ambidextrous palm swells on the grip and a raised comb to provide a comfortable cheek weld for shooting with a scope. The fore-end features a wide, beavertail swell for greater stability on a front sandbag. There are two (2) sling swivel studs so you can attach both a sling and a bipod.

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

Twin-Barrel CZ-455: Shoot .22 LR and 17 HMR with Same Rifle
CZ also offers a versitile twin-caliber CZ-455. The CZ-455 American Combo comes from the factory with two (2) fitted barrels, one in .22 LR and the other in 17 HMR. This effectively gives you two rifles for not much more than the cost of a .22 LR rig. And the 17 HMR cartridge really extends your effective range on varmint hunts.

CZ-455 Tacticool Varmint rifle .22LR

Switching barrels is easy — simply remove the two action screws to release the barreled action then loosen two set screws that retain the barrel. No need to worry about headspace — the barrels are pre-fit and drop-in. The video below shows how the barrel exchange system works.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Tactical 1 Comment »